Sloulin Field International Airport

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded a grant of $27m to fund the construction of a new airport in the City of Williston, North Dakota.

The new airport, which will be built under airport improvement program (AIP), will replace the existing Sloulin Field International Airport and will be called Williston Basin International with XWA as the three-letter airport identifier.

The funding will be used to facilitate the purchase of 1,540 acres of land to build the new airport while help meet the growing aviation demand in the region.

With the purchase expected to be completed by early next year, construction will commence in mid-2016.

The new airport is expected to be built in phases and will be operational by 2018.

"Investing in our nation’s airports is important to the national air transportation system."

FAA administrator Michael Huerta said: "Investing in our nation’s airports is important to the national air transportation system.

"We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in North Dakota as we embark on this important project to provide safe and efficient air transportation to the Williston region."

The fund was granted after the FAA funded a study to determine the ways to address capacity at the existing airport, which revealed that the existing airport is constrained by the developments surrounding it.

The study recommended building a new airport in a different location as it was discovered that any further development to the Sloulin Field airport will not be economically feasible.

In addition, an Environmental Assessment conducted by FAA revealed no significant environmental concerns with the proposed project.

The entire project worth $254m, is expected to be funded by the City of Williston and the State of North Dakota along with additional grants from the FAA.

US Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx: "This grant reflects our commitment to meet the changing aviation needs of airports around the country.

"As economic and demographic changes occur, the US Department of Transportation remains committed to helping state and local governments provide the necessary infrastructure to meet transportation demands."

The passenger traffic at Sloulin Field International Airport has increased from 10,894 to 114,281 in a period of six years, from 2008 to 2014, with more growth expected in future.

The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, City of Williston and the FAA has been working together to address the region’s aviation needs.

Image: Sloulin Field International Airport. Photo: courtesy of RFBailey.